NTT DOCOMO, INC., Japan’s leading mobile operator and provider of integrated services centered on mobility, and KT Corporation, South Korea’s leading telecom operator, have agreed to develop a cross-border e-money service that would enable DOCOMO customers with compatible smartphones purchased in Japan to use a prepaid e-money service called “Cashbee” in South Korea.
DOCOMO and KT have been exploring opportunities for seamless cross-border mobile services using smartphones since February 2011. Efforts have focused on developing common specifications for mutual devices, networks and billing platforms, working through a joint Business & Technology Cooperation Committee that they established in 2005. The new service would be a practical commercial outcome of this initiative.
The agreement was reached together with eB Card, a LOTTE affiliated South Korean prepaid e-money service provider that developed Cashbee in August 2010. Cashbee is available at some 52,000 locations in LOTTE Group department stores, convenience stores and mass transportation facilities such as subways and buses. The service currently has 5 million users.
DOCOMO and KT will jointly deploy a new system to enable this and other cross-border NFC services between their two countries by the end of the first half of fiscal 2013 ending in March 2014. Going forward, they will consider the deployment of other NFC-based cross-border services, such as mobile payments, promotional coupons and mass-transit ticketing.
Toshiki Nakayama, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of DOCOMO’s Frontier Services Department, said: “DOCOMO is excited about creating a cross-border environment that enables Osaifu-Keitai™ (mobile phones with wallet functions) services both in Japan and abroad. Going forward, we will partner with international operators and service providers to drive the development of mobile- payment businesses for increasingly enhanced mobile experiences on a global scale.”
Kook-hyun Kang, Senior Vice President of KT’s Product Business Unit, said: “The need for cross-border services for smartphones continues to grow as more and more people travel abroad. KT looks forward to develop highly useful international NFC services that offer greater convenience to customers traveling overseas.”
DOCOMO and KT plan to share the results of their commercial endeavor with global associations and standardization bodies, aiming to promote the realization of a commercial environment for globally compatible NFC services.